Little Rock police officer cleared in shooting death of Bradley Blackshire

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- The Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney says Little Rock Police Officer Charles Starks will not face charges in the February shooting death of Bradley Blackshire, two sources confirm. 

Little Rock Police said on Feb. 22 that Blackshire had been pulled over driving a car police said was stolen. He at first stopped but when Officer Starks got out of his patrol car, police said Blackshire then accelerated and hit him. Police say as the officer was hit, Starks fired his gun. 

Little Rock Police released the following statement:

The Little Rock Police Department has completed the internal investigation, which will be given to the Chief of Police. This case is a top priority of the Little Rock Police Department. Due to employee rights and time for the Chief of Police to review the file, the final decision in the internal investigation will take approximately two (2) weeks. We ask for your continued patience as this case is thoroughly reviewed.

Starks’ attorney, Robert Newcomb, released the following statement:

“Officer Charles Starks is relieved that the Prosecutor isn’t going to file charges. It relieves burden on him and his family. He wishes Mr. Blackshire would’ve gotten out of the car and this would have never happened.”

Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. released the following statement Friday night:

In the spirit of transparency, I earnestly await the Department of Justice’s civil rights review and its results. Chief Humphrey has assured me that the Internal Affairs investigation to determine policy violations or disciplinary action will be decided within two weeks.

Whether or not you agree with Prosecuting Attorney Jegley’s decision, the fact remains that there is a Little Rock mother grieving the loss of her son. I have spoken with Mr. Blackshire’s mother, prayed with her this afternoon, and will continue to pray for her peace, strength and comfort during this time of sorrow.

I understand the range of emotions that today’s decision has stirred, for I too share in your pain and frustration. However, I personally ask that the citizens of Little Rock remain peaceful.

The Blackshire family’s lawyer, Omavi Shukur, released the following statement on behalf of the family:

Charles Starks’s actions were criminal. The family disagrees with the prosecutor’s decision and will be undeterred in our pursuit of justice. We ask that the community not give the authorities any excuse to further neglect their responsibility to make amends for this devastating tragedy. Let us be constructive in the wake of Starks’s destructive actions. We seek justice, not retribution. Retribution without justice does nothing to help us reach our ultimate goal of ensuring that no family has to experience what we are going through right now.

To read a letter from the Prosecuting Attorney to the Chief of Little Rock Police, click here

To watch the critical incident video of the officer-involved shooting, click here

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